President Calls Australian Prime Minister “That Fellow Down Under” After Forgetting His Name
President Joe Biden seemed to forget the name of the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a joint press conference Wednesday evening, referring to him as “Mr. Prime Minister” and “that fellow Down Under.”
Wednesday Biden announced a trilateral security partnership with Britain and Australia, called AUKUS, which includes sharing advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines, among the three countries.
The president held a virtual joint press conference with the U.K Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Thank you, Boris,” Biden said to the British Prime Minister Morrison.
“And I want to thank that fellow Down Under,” the president said, pointing to the Australian Prime Minister. “Thank you very much, pal. Appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister.”
Later when reading from the teleprompter, he addressed Morrison by name.
“As Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Johnson said, I want to thank you for this partnership, your vision as we embark together on this strategic mission,” the president said.”Although Australia, the UK and U.S. partnership – AUKUS – it sounds strange with all these acronyms, but it’s a good one, AUKUS – our nations will update and enhance our shared ability to take on the threats of the 21st century just as we did in the 20th century: together.”
Prominent Australian news outlets like The Australian and Sky News didn’t miss the gaffe, and #ThatFellaDownUnder became a trending topic on Twitter.
Morrison did not acknowledge the slip-up but rather referred to the agreement as a “forever partnership for a new time between the oldest and most trusted of friends.”
“A forever partnership that will enable Australia to protect our national security interests, to keep Australians safe,” he said. “And to work with our partners across the region to achieve the stability and security of our region.”
“We’re opening a new chapter in our friendship,” added Johnson. “The U.K., Australia and the U.S. will be joined even more closely together, reflecting the measure of trust between us.”